A turkey walks into a bar…

Uh, it’s almost Thanksgiving! This month is almost over–and it’s a complete blur. The month started with a work trip and ends with a fun trip to spend time with our close friends, with the shock of the election in between. Everything else is a bit fuzzy and happened quickly. I haven’t posted much this month and my ‘Cookbook Sunday Dinner’ just went right out the window since I’ve been traveling or had other plans–like attending a party to celebrate the opening of a lovely new restaurant in Seattle owned by two of the nicest guys around. Tonight is the only Sunday I’m home, with only spending time with Skip and (eventually) actual work work to do. It’s a rainy, almost winter day, and being home is a wonderful place to be! Continue reading

For the love of cake

Growing up, for every birthday and every holiday, we had (still do!) something sweet–sometimes many, many sweet things and always cake. Mostly, the sweets were made by my mom, who stayed up all night or many nights in a row mixing, baking, and, when there was cake, decorating. One birthday, I had a Barbie doll cake with white and pink icing–you know, the one where Barbie is dressed in a fancy ballgown made of cake and icing? I’m pretty sure I had that one more than once because I loved Barbie and all of her friends. For my 16th birthday, I had a three-tiered cake decorated with fresh roses; just about every birthday cake was made by mom. Sadly, I don’t have pictures of these lovely handmade creations but, my mom’s love of baking and creating delicious things for the people she loved was firmly passed on to me. Continue reading

Summers, past & present

I grew up in the deep, deep South. Summers–and most of the year–were filled with thick, suffocatingly hot days and the nights were only marginally cooler, sometimes. I was a kid, I didn’t notice. There was a pool to cool off in or a popsicle or ice cream to eat; and, there was fun to be had. Most of my summer breaks included weeks on end at my grandparents house in a tiny town in Louisiana called Mt. Hermon. My mom had grown up there; my grandparents owned a farm–it was my grandfather’s family dairy farm. The summers were, at least in my 41-year old memory, idyllic. Rolling farm land, big sweeping magnolia trees that provided welcome shade to the swing sets sitting beneath their branches, a pool where all the grandkids would spend hours, and the noise of the ice cream churn in the background. It was wonderful and, I know, it was so very hot, but, I didn’t care. Continue reading

Hot day, cold drink

Wow, it’s warm in Seattle this week! Now, this doesn’t happen that often, and the Southerner in me laughs at the idea that this is hot but…it’s 92 degrees and we DON’T HAVE AIR-CONDITIONING, only a couple of fans. Yes, it’s not humid and the temperature will cool down late at night, allowing me to sleep. But, while I’m awake, the sun is shining, it is hot. Continue reading

Oh, sherbet!

Summer is in full swing here–sunny outside (most days, anyway) and blissfully quiet at work. I get up in the morning and it’s sunny; I get home in the evening and it’s light out until after 9:00, plenty of time to play fetch with Roux and then sit on the deck and enjoy the evening, sometimes with a glass of wine. It’s wonderful! The pup is exhausted and the people are happy. The cat, well, he’s mad that he can’t go outside but seems to love to sit by the screen door and watch the birds and the bugs, and meow dramatically at us. Really, this time of year makes my heart happy. Continue reading

Red Currant-Orange Shrub

Every weekend during the summer, I buy too much fruit for me and Skip to consume before it turns to mush. I can freeze it, yes, but I’m notorious for putting things on a cookie sheet and placing it in the freezer–then, forgetting about it completely until I need the cookie sheet usually months later, though I did have a recent success of actually transferring frozen fruit to a container. There’s also the fruit that I don’t think will freeze all that well, like currants. Admittedly, I haven’t tried it but they seem way too delicate compared to blackberries, strawberries, or even raspberries. Well, in an attempt to quickly use up fruit in a way that didn’t involve baking (or heat of any kind), I discovered shrubs a few years ago–a crazy concoction of vinegar, sugar, and fruit that’s a complex blend of sweet and sour. Now, I have a shrub of some sort in my refrigerator at all times! Continue reading

Buttermilk Berry Cake

Holy moly, folks, it’s July! Where did the first half of this year go??

The last few days of June were perfect–no ‘Juneuary’ this year (or last year!). For those not in the PNW, June to July 4th is often a crazy, unpredictable weather time. It’s rainy and cool, sometimes downright cold, and the next day or later the same day, it’s sunny and warm. You never know what to wear, so you layer and pack a rain coat. Then, July 5th arrives and summer settles in for a couple of months, with its lovely long, sunny days and beautiful nights.  Continue reading

Mostly Rhubarb Crumble

Sigh…my birthday weekend has come to a close! But, it started with a wonderful evening with Skip and a couple of close friends and ended with a lot of unexpected sunshine, Mars, and rhubarb (mostly) crumble that was almost a cake. Hard to complain with such a lovely start to being 41.

This afternoon, after a delicious brunch with Skip, I popped over to a local Sunday farmer’s market and found some beautiful rhubarb, picked this morning, and some of the tastiest first strawberries of the season, along with a couple of adorable baby butter lettuce heads and carrots. I even saw cherries on one of the stands–it’s super early for those little gems! On the way to the grocery store to pick up the remainder of the groceries for the week, I decided to make a rhubarb cake with the lovely stalks I’d bought at the market. Then, somewhere between the store and home, though, I changed my mind and went the crumble route. I mean, really, who doesn’t like delicious, sweet and tangy fruit topped with a buttery streusel–anybody? Nobody I know…so, a crumble was the fate of the fresh cut rhubarb and early strawberries, along with some sweet blueberries and lemon zest. I’m pretty happy with my last minute change of plans. Since it’s mostly fruit and grain, I can have it for breakfast, right?

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Rhubarb+Berry Crumble
4 C (475 g) Chopped Rhubarb
1/3 C (87 g) Blueberries
2/3 C (100 g) Quartered strawberries
1 1/2 tsp (3 g) Lemon zest (about 1/2 of a large lemon)
1 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
1/4 C + 1 Tbsp (71 g) Sugar
Pinch of salt

Crumble Topping
1/2 C (48 g) Steel cut oats
1/2 C (44 g) Rye flakes, or substitute more oats
1/2 C (57 g) Almond meal
1/4 C (44 g) Whole wheat flour
1/2 C (105 g) Packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp (4 g) Salt
Black pepper — I didn’t measure this, just a couple of turns of the grinder, optional
1/2 C (113 g) Unsalted butter, cold & cut into cubes

Ice cream or whipped cream–optional, but delicious

  • Preheat oven to 375 °F.
  • Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or 9-inch deep dish pie plate.
  • Toss the rhubarb, berries, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/4 C + 1 tablespoon sugar, and pinch of salt together. Pour into the buttered dish.
  • To make the topping, add all the ingredients for the crumble topping in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and begins to clump together.
  • Put the crumble topping on the top of the fruit. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
  • Serve warm; top with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.  image